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NOAA operates a fleet of 15 research vessels that conduct hydrographic surveys, oceanographic and atmospheric research, and fisheries research to support NOAA's missions. NOAA ships are staffed by professional mariners and uniformed NOAA Corps officers. The professional mariner workforce includes licensed engineers and unlicensed members of the engine, steward, and deck departments. Additionally, survey and electronic technicians are responsible for the ships' scientific, communication, and navigation equipment. We recruit transitioning military, merchant mariners, maritime academy graduates, and skilled entry-level candidates to fill our maritime job opportunities. 

noaa scientific crew on a ship

Crew members placing scientific equipment. Credit: NOAA



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Deck crew members

Deck crew members. Credit: NOAA

Members of the Deck Department are responsible for launching and recovering research equipment and fishing gear. They operate survey launches and dive boats launched from the ship. Underway they stand lookout watch and often stand security watch in port. Deck personnel perform routine deck maintenance such as cleaning, painting, chipping and preserving the ship. For a complete description of duties and requirements, click the positions listed below. Apply through the NOAA Professional Mariner Hiring Portal. 

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Positions Average Annual Salary* Recruitment Incentive Bonus**
Ordinary Seaman/General Vessel Assistant $63,167.16 $10,000
Able Seaman $75,471.37 $10,000
Fisherman $67,170.55 $10,000
Seaman Surveyor $83,217.09 $10,000
Skilled Fisherman $72,551.95 $10,000
Boatswain Group Leader $84,914.07 $10,000
Lead Fisherman $85,789.27 $10,000
Chief Boatswain $122,513.20 $10,000
Chief Boatswain (Fisherman) $120,436.73 $10,000

* Average annual salary includes overtime estimate, penalty pay estimate, room and meal allowance estimate, and base salary. Check the full job descriptions for the base salary range.

** Recruitment incentive bonus offered to newly appointed federal employees. (Requires at least a 90-day break in service from previous federal employment.) 



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